ACLU Lens: Hearing Next Week in Twitter Wikileaks Case
By Suzanne Ito
ACLU National Office
Late yesterday, a court unsealed three motions filed by the ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) last month on behalf of Birgitta Jonsdottir, the Icelandic parliamentarian whose Twitter account records were targeted by the government in connection with its investigation related to WikiLeaks.
We filed these motions in late January, but because they were initially placed under seal by the court, we couldn't tell anyone about them until the court unsealed them last night. One of the motions seeks to overturn a federal court order requiring Twitter to turn over the private records of some of its users on the grounds that the order is overbroad and violates our client's constitutional rights. The second motion seeks to unseal court records concerning government attempts to collect our client's private records from Twitter and other companies. The third motion asked the court to unseal the original two motions and the hearing.
A public hearing on the motions is set for February 15 in the United States District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.
ACLU staff attorney Aden Fine said in a statement last night:
"We are troubled that the original court order requiring Twitter to turn over its users' private records was filed under seal. Except in truly extraordinary circumstances, Internet users should receive notice and an opportunity to go to court to defend their constitutional rights before their privacy is compromised. That's what is happening now, and we are hopeful that the court will unseal the rest of the sealed materials."
In the News:
- Washington Post - 3 in WikiLeaks case fight Twitter disclosure order (2/8/2011)
- CNET - WikiLeaks hearing set in dispute over Twitter data (2/8/2011)
- Wired News - EFF, ACLU Challenge Feds' WikiLeaks Twitter Probe (2/8/2011)
Get more information: visit our Twitter Wikileaks Order/Subpoena topic page.